Mobile-Communications Technology Faces The Challenges Of 2011

Jan. 19, 2011
At next months Mobile World Congress exhibition, Microwaves & RF will be reporting on the latest developments from Barcelona.

THE MOBILE World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is a global gathering of mobile-communications-technology companies and experts. Consequently, the conference and exhibition will see no shortage of important topics under discussion. Among those topics will certainly be the initiative by the Global Systems for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) to form a task force of mobile operators. Those operators will explore the development of an embedded subscriber identification module (SIM) that can be remotely activated.

"The traditional SIM has been an important innovation in mobile telephony and has provided many benefits to consumers in terms of security, portability of contacts, and ease of portability of devices across networks," explains Rob Conway, who is both CEO and member of the GSMA board. "As our industry moves from connecting phones to connecting a wide range of devices, it is apparent that the embedded SIM could deliver even greater flexibility. The embedded SIM will provide assured levels of security and portability for consumers, as well as provide additional functionality for enabling new services, such as e-Wallet and NFC applications."

The GSMA-led task force comprises a group of leading technical experts drawn from operators including AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, KT, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefnica, Verizon Wireless, and Vodafone. The proposed embedded-SIM solution will include programmable SIM-card capabilities to enable remote activation.

LONG-TERM-EVOLUTION (LTE) cellular-communications developments are sure to be on the conference agenda at MWC. Recently, T-Mobile and Vodafone revealed how they plan to charge for access to their new LTE networks in Germany. Vodafone's pricing will be "tiered," based on data volumes and service speed. The top rate is predicted to give users 30 GB of data and peak downloads of 50 Mb/s. The Vodafone LTE network will launch in the town of Rammenau, which is east of Dresden. The operator is planning to expand the network to 1500 locations by the second quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, German rival Deutsche Telekom (owner of T-Mobile) has said that it will offer an LTE service called Call & Surf via Funk starting in April. The tariff, which is EUR 39.95 per month, includes fixed-line access alongside the LTE connection. Interestingly, T-Mobile is focusing its LTE efforts on rural areas, where fixed-line broadband services are weak.

ST-ERICSSON AND NOKIA are in the throes of developing time-division-LTE (TD-LTE) demonstration devices for China Mobile. The companies have already demonstrated video streaming and other multimedia services on a TD-LTE Nokia booklet, which contains ST-Ericsson's M700 TD-LTE modem. Those modems, which can download data at speeds to 100 Mb/s, provide mobile subscribers with high-definition video streaming, video conferencing, online gaming, and rapid file transfers. China Mobile is already undergoing a TD-LTE trial.

THE GSMA, which organizes Mobile World Congress, is now accepting entries for its Brand App Challenge. In this competition, mobile application developers create "brand apps" for a select group of global consumer brands including Coca-Cola. These applications will be based on the objectives and guidance provided by the individual brands. They also will address a range of mobile operating systems (OSs).

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